Children are changing the world.
Twitter user Mikel Jollett tweeted, "When your children act like leaders and your leaders act like children, you know change is coming." As I type these words, goosebumps appear on my arms, because I know these courageous, intelligent, amazing teenagers are paving the way for change that the United States of America so desperately needs when it comes to firearms.
One week ago, survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL took to the stage at a town hall hosted by CNN to ask the NRA, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (R) and other representatives to ask them if they would support the ban of certain assault-style rifles and refuse to take money from the NRA.
Parkland shooting survivor, David Hogg, 17, said the NRA is an organization that is "completely broken" and he is correct. The NRA is broken, corrupt and heartless.
Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, gave an empowering speech at a gun-control rally in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on Saturday, Feb. 17. Gonzalez said, "Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving. But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the Founding Fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed but our laws have not."
Emma is right. Guns have changed since the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1791. The year was 1791; guns were not powerful in the late 1700s like they are today.
Let me clarify that I support reasonable, intelligent, sane people owning guns who respect and fear these weapons that only have one purpose: to kill.
What I don't support is the lax gun policies this country has. It is far too easy to get a gun. The asshole who murdered 17 people at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School legally bought the fireman that ended the lives of 17 innocent people. He should not have been able to purchase an AR-15 at 18 years old.
It should be extremely difficult to purchase a firearm based on the high volume of mass shootings this country has witnessed in recent years and months.
I believe that that obtaining a firearm should be more difficult than obtaining a driver's license. In fact, people wanting to own a firearm should be licensed to do so and should have to renew their license every five years or so. Anyone purchasing a firearm should undergo a lengthy waiting period, an in-depth and extensive background check, psychological testing, a written test and sign a legal document stating that if they break the law or hurt another person in any way with the weapon, they lose it for a year and have to undergo a training course. If it happens again, they lose the firearm permanently. If the person violates the law by illegally obtaining a firearm and get caught, they have to spend time in prison.
I also believe that anyone who has a background of domestic violence or any criminal background should not be able to obtain a firearm at all. According to Criminalwatchdog.com, a person does not need to undergo a background check if they purchase a gun online, at a gun show or through a private sale. This is fucking terrifying knowing that any person with an intent to kill other people or a violent agenda can purchase a gun without undergoing a background check.
Here's the thing: If you'd rather defend guns than the lives of children and people who have looked death in the face through the barrel of a gun or lost their lives to a gunshot, your moral compass is completely fucked and you need to do some serious soul searching. Nobody is taking away the guns you own, the government is not taking away your guns. We don't want to take away your guns; we want stricter policies, stronger background checks and we want to make it difficult for violent and dangerous people to obtain guns.
These courageous teenagers and many of us adults only want stricter policies and laws in place to make it hard to obtain a gun because it is too fucking easy to do so.
As someone who works with children in a school setting, I am truly scared for my school and my kids, especially after the Parkland shooting. I recently had to talk to a student who was having panic attacks at school as a result of the shooting. This isn't okay. My school and my district is doing everything they can to ensure students are safe, but that doesn't ease the fears. I'm sure Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School had similar safeguards in place and a fucking school shooting still happened.
Also, arming teachers is a HORRIBLE idea. Teachers are meant to teach, they are not meant to be armed security guards. That is a poor argument that is based entirely on the myth that a good guy with gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. Arming teachers and school staff is not and never will be answer. Oh, and guess what? Parkland did have a good guy with a gun and he did nothing; he stood outside while the shooter actively killed teachers and students.
The "good guy with a gun" theory is a myth that is constantly perpetuated by the NRA so they can encourage people to buy more guns.
Another myth making the rounds on social media is that another solution would be placing unemployed veterans in schools would make schools safer, which is again false and here's why: Placing a veteran in a school who may suffer from PTSD is a HORRIBLE idea, especially in the event of a school shooting. That is not the answer. That's just a shitty excuse backed up by ignorance. I doubt most veterans want to placed in a school for the sole purpose of preventing a school shooting when they've already witnessed death and experienced trauma in ways that most of us cannot even begin to imagine.
These teenagers are true leaders who are going to change our country. They are survivors; they went through a horribly traumatic event that has motivated them to fight for change and save lives. Soon, some of these kids will be 18 and will have the power to vote out the slimeball politicians who are paid by the NRA.
Oh, and to the conspiracy theorists who are doxxing children and saying they are crisis actors: Go fuck yourselves, you useless piece of shit slimebag assholes.
Change is coming and these kids are leading the way. From a 27-year old millennial to Gen Z: Keep fighting the good fight. Don't give up. Don't let the Internet trolls, incompetent and greedy politicians, ignorant NRA/Trump supporters, or the NRA dissuade you from continuing to make these changes happen. You guys are the future.
Change the world.